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credit card with fingerprint

Mastercard has unveiled a credit card that uses fingerprint sensor technology.

The rollout follows two successful trials in South Africa.

MasterCard‘s technology works in the same way as it does with mobile phone payments: users must have their finger over the sensor when making a purchase.

According to security experts, using fingerprints is not foolproof, but it is a “sensible” use of biometric technology.

MasterCard‘s chief of safety and security Ajay Bhalla said that the fingerprint technology would help “to deliver additional convenience and security. It is not something that can be taken or replicated”.

Image source Flickr

However, fingerprint sensors can be compromised.

The cards are thought to be the first to include both the digital template of the user’s fingerprint and the sensor required to read their fingerprints at the POS.

Previous biometric payment cards only worked when used in conjunction with a separate fingerprint scanner.

That limited their usefulness, as only stores with the correct equipment could accept them.

Having both the data and the scanner on the same card means that they should be accepted everywhere a normal chip and PIN payment card can be used.

However, the biometric verification can only be used for in-store purchases: online and other so-called “card not present” transactions will still require further security measures.